Summer Vacation 2010
California and Oregon
Monday, June 7, 2010: Oakland to Klamath Falls
Julia, Mary, David, and I flew out of Oakland to Klamath Falls this day.
The flight took the best part of three hours and we flew on a clear
blue-sky day. As we reached the California-Oregon border the
snowcapped Mount Shasta loomed in our view. Several
Air-National-Guard F-15s greeted us at Klamath Airport. Matilda (our
Commander aircraft) got us on the ground safely even with the jets
aggressively buzzing around our ears.
We took a brief walk into downtown Klamath Falls
after checking into our hotel. The town is a sleepy place full of
strip-malls and shopping centers on it outskirts. However,
downtown's lake and nice park are redeeming features.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010: Lava Beds National Monument
We spent the day hiking at the Lava Beds National Monument. The place
is comprised of majestic snow covered volcanoes, immense lava beds
filled with tortured rock shapes, deep frozen caves formed from lava
tubes, towering cinder cones scarcely covered in flora, and enormous
calderas fashioned by the collapse of whole mountains. We walked on
old lava flows, into deep dark lava tubes, and learnt about the fate
of the Modoc Native Americans. What a spectacular place to hike.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010: Crater Lake
weather got colder, but remained relatively sunny. We utilized this
opportunity to visit Crater Lake National Park not too far north of
Klamath Falls. Imagine a 14,000-foot mountain, snow capped and
majestic. It sat for millennia reaching up to the sky. Then
visualize it exploding with pyroclastic fury and collapsing downward
into an enormous caldera under the massive peak. If you can envisage
this then you have realized Crater Lake National Park. The purest
water today fills the enormous carter left by this incredible event
endowing the lake with a cobalt blue color. Even this late into the
summer Cater Lake is snowbound and cold, so we fortunately took warm
clothes for our visit. If you do not visit this grand place, you are
depriving yourself an experience of a lifetime.
Thursday, June 10, 2010: Klamath Falls
the sleepy little town of Klamath Falls we walked around the
stupendous Upper Klamath Lake and wondered about trails frequented
with turtles, water snakes, red winged black birds, red tailed
hawks, grebes, pelicans, egrets, and many other birds and animals.
See a video of the flight, Klamath Falls, the Lava Beds, and Crater Lake
Friday, June 11, 2010: Klamath Falls to Portland
lifted off from Klamath Airport into more bright blue and clear
skies this morning. As we flew north we had a close encounter with
an F-15 jet heading back to the airport. Our two aircraft headed
directly at each other until the F-15 filled the windshield of
Matilda. Then it broke left in a maneuver reminiscent of the movie
Top Gun. We missed each other by only half a mile or so. This event
caused quite a stir in our cockpit as you can imagine. However,
everyone's emotions settled down again once we sighted Crater Lake
on our track north to Portland over the Cascade Mountains.
Video of Klamath Falls Birds, the flight to Portland via Crater Lake and the
Saturday, June 12, 2010: Portland and the Columbia River Gorge
was the first time I had ever visited Portland Oregon. I must say it
is a great city, but it has a freaky feel to it. Let me just say:
the citizens of Portland seem out of place with the rest of the
population of Oregon. However odd Portland is there is no mistaking
the nature beauty of the Columbia River Gorge. We drove out to it
and hiked its many waterfalls. If you like cascades then the
Columbia River Gorge is the place for you. I have seen really large
waterfalls at Iguassu Falls in Brazil and Niagara Falls in New York,
but I have never seen so many falls that you can walk right up to
and around before. Besides, the Columbia River is a splendid sight
on its own.
The Columbia River Gorge
Sunday, June 13, 2010: Portland to Crescent City California
weather forced us to change our plans and leave Portland early. So
we flew south to California and the big tress of Crescent City. I
have been here many times before, but I never tire of the place.
Hiking in the redwoods big tree forests is a source of unending
pleasure. This time we were able to complete the Boy Scot Trail. We
have partially walked it twice before, but were able to complete it
on this trip. Our reward was to see Fern Falls, which marks the end
of this trail. We also visited the marshlands just north of Crescent
City California and surrounded ourselves with its birds.